What happens to the heart when it is too filled with joy to fit in its body? It spreads like the sun all over the face. We have had over a week encountering such smiles. They arrive at the training sessions on foot and/or via crowded taxi vans – teachers and caregivers eager to learn new tools to help their children on the journey to reading.
The Rotary Global Grant 25244 was to impact 4000 children. The project is in its third year and because of community action – including the University of Pretoria and the US Peace Corps – the number of children being reached has doubled.
Rotarians from the international club typically join Rotarians from the host club at least twice each year to train new teachers or follow-up on previously trained teachers in the project. Often visits focus on classrooms. This visit focused on teacher experience with Souns. What has been happening? How is the program working? What are the difficulties? What are the great moments? Teachers are the greatest champions for their children. I love to listen…it is magic! For example:
One teacher shared that she greets each child as he or she arrives at school with a Souns symbol. The learner keeps the symbol until all the children have arrived. The teacher then collects the symbols by asking for /s/ or /m/ or /p/. This takes so little time and is a daily review of the letter-sound associations being learned in the classroom at that time. That activity excited many, who want to implement it in their classrooms. There were SO many wonderful ideas shared, each relished like a gift.
There were discussions about how to meld the Souns program with the CAPS curriculum for language/literacy in South Africa. Some excellent ideas were shared and demonstrated.
Getting teachers together on a regular basis to share their questions and successes builds a repertoire of good practice with Souns. It is quite beneficial for everyone….and it is FUN!
Look at the smiles!